Student pharmacists sharpen patient-communication skills


Your pharmacist isn’t much of a pill-counter anymore.

Chances are good that a technician does that while your pharmacist educates patients about their health and helps them learn how best to integrate medication into their total treatment plan.

“When you see pharmacists on TV they’re doling out pills, but that’s not what pharmacists do anymore,” says Registered Pharmacist Scott Lason, “they educate patients about how to improve their health.”

Lason was among two dozen Fort Worth-area pharmacists who spent a recent morning helping UNT System College of Pharmacy students sharpen their skills in consulting with patients. The college is part of the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

The 40 students competed in a contest gauging their abilities in talking with mock patients – actually the community pharmacists acting as patients. Each student was assigned specific medications, studied their proper uses for a few minutes and then provided counsel to their mock patient.

Said Lason of his encounters with the student pharmacists, “These students are brilliant and really capable. These exercises help them get more experience so they’ll be proficient when they begin rotations in actual pharmacy settings.”

Second-year student Joshua Ortega said the interaction and feedback from a pharmacist “helps me be more confident in my patient consultation and communication skills.”

Student pharmacists Mark Gehrig, Dante Giordano and Shilpa Korah organized the competition on the UNT Health Science Center campus. They are local officers in the APhA-Academy of Student Pharmacists.

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